GENEVA – The Global Fund has awarded nearly US$1 billion to 106 countries to support their responses to COVID-19, but has now fully deployed all its funding for this purpose. There are significant further needs for immediate funding, including for personal protective equipment (PPE), testing and treatment, and to mitigate the impact on lifesaving HIV, TB and malaria programs. Unfunded country requests for support now amount to over US$355 million.
In response to COVID-19 the Global Fund has awarded an additional US$980 million to 106 low- and middle-income countries and 14 multi-country programs in 2020. The final US$41.5 million was approved yesterday evening. The awards for COVID-19 are on top of the approximately US$4 billion the Global Fund has invested in its core HIV, TB and malaria programs this year.
Countries are using the funds awarded as part of the Global Fund’s COVID-19 response to:
Reinforce national COVID-19 responses, including purchasing critical tests, treatments and medical supplies; protecting front-line health workers with training and PPE like gloves and masks; and supporting control and containment interventions, including test, trace and treat/isolate; Mitigate COVID-19 impact on lifesaving HIV, TB and malaria programs, including by delivering medicines, mosquito nets and critical supplies door to door, protecting community health workers and providing support and prevention services via digital platforms; Make urgent improvements to health and community systems to help fight COVID-19, HIV, TB and malaria, including by reinforcing supply chains, laboratory networks and community-led response systems. The Global Fund partnership moved swiftly to help countries respond to COVID-19, providing millions of tests and PPE, and enabling rapid adaption of HIV, TB and malaria programs. In addition to redeployed internal funds, the Global Fund’s COVID-19 response received US$259 million from donors including Canada, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway and the FIFA Foundation.
“We are extremely grateful to the donors who, even while fighting the virus at home, contributed extra funding to fight COVID-19 in the world’s poorest and most vulnerable countries,” said Peter Sands, Executive Director of the Global Fund. “We are struck by what countries and communities have accomplished to fight the new virus and protect hard-won gains in the fight against HIV, TB and malaria. But the tragedy is that just as new COVID-19 tools are becoming available, and as needs are on the rise, there is no money left on the table.
“While the fantastic news on vaccines provides a light at the end of the tunnel, we must not let this blind us to the reality that the tunnel ahead remains long, dark and dangerous, particularly for the poorest and most vulnerable communities,” Sands continued. “We must continue to step up investment in testing, treatment, and PPE. And we must recognize that in some countries, the knock-on impact of the pandemic on HIV, TB and malaria may exceed the direct impact.”
The Global Fund has estimated that it needs a further US$5 billion on top of its core funding to support countries in responding to the pandemic. This figure represents part of the overall financing needs of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-Accelerator), the global collaborative partnership in which the Global fund plays a leading role.
The Global Fund is extremely appreciative of the continued support of donors for its core funding, as pledges made at the record-breaking Replenishment Conference in Lyon in October 2019 are converted into cash contributions. Sustaining funding levels for the fight against HIV, TB and malaria is vital at a moment when disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic threaten to reverse many years of progress.